Over my years in ministry, I have been able to serve in a variety of capacities in the local church and in the association. I have met a lot of pastors, read a lot of books, visited a lot of blogs and gone to a lot of meetings. Something occurred to me the other day, that the expectations we have for men in ministry are such that Jesus wouldn’t last long in staff at the local church. I want to toss out three areas in which I think Jesus would have been in trouble.
1. He didn’t respect the elder leadership. In many churches, for a young guy in his 30s to call out the elders, the leaders and those in positions of authority is always bad. Even if what the young man says is correct, he is still told that he must honor and respect those. Calling an older leader a poisonous snake, a dirty coffee cup or a building full of dead bodies wouldn’t go over very well. He would have been sat down and given a stern talking too about respect and honor. After all, who did this guy think he was, standing up to these men with years of experience, education and a proven track record. Young men have to understand their place.
2. He put Himself in compromising situations. Imagine the shock of the disciples when they returned to find Jesus alone counseling a woman. Not only a woman, but one with a reputation. Imagine the horror when He was left alone with a woman caught in the act of adultery, she probably was scantily clad, and He engaged her in conversation. He let prostitutes touch his feet, and He spent time with people who engaged in immoral activities. He spent time with tax collectors, and He will become guilty by association. Doesn’t Jesus know that He must protect His ministry? If He isn’t careful, someone might say something, start a rumor. Young men have to understand that they have to be careful.
3. His ministry plateaued and then declined until He was abandoned. Jesus started off as a superstar, but His ministry wasn’t maintained. His group didn’t continue to grow, it plateaued and then quickly began to decline. He eventually was abandoned by everyone but His inner circle and then began to fall away. One of them even betrayed Him. A leader who loses all His followers, should we assume He wasn’t much of a leader? A teacher who can’t keep students must not have been a good teacher, right? Young men have to understand their limits.
Now I know my example is a little tongue and cheek, but do we hold pastors and leaders to a standard that Jesus didn’t keep? How do you view a young man who acts like this and then loses his following? Would you label them as a rebel, as disrespectful and arrogant? Maybe you would call him lazy and immature. Maybe, just maybe you are really looking at the ministry of someone who understand the heart of the Savior a little better than you or I.